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Eurydice isadoraNOW brings the classic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice to life with a fusion of Isadora Duncan’s signature style and contemporary modern dance.

SD Fringe Festival: Eurydice

In the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice fall in love; Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies; Orpheus pleads with Hades to bring his love back to life, then succumbs to his own mortal flaw — sending Eurydice back to the Underworld forever.

Floor work, athletic jumps, flexed bare feet, and all the tortured facial expressions that make modern dance work are there, but it's the storytelling through choreography that sells the show.

isadoraNOW tells the story in three acts, each backed by musical arrangements that set the tone for each piece. A lively orchestration of trumpets and clarinets usher in Act One and the birth of the love story. The lovers waltz, spring in unison, and support each other's weight with lifts and intimate embraces.

Eurydice’s toga-esque dress works as both costume and eloquent symbol of the love story’s tragic end. A long white sheet envelopes the dancer’s body at the start, becomes the snake that kills her, then unravels to confine her. Two dancers dressed in identical olive-green dresses manipulate the fabric throughout Acts Two and Three to separate the lovers. As Orpheus and Eurydice flail around the perimeter of the stage, the guardians of the Underworld keep them apart with the wall of white fabric — a beautiful representation of the push and pull of love.

You don't need to be a scholar of classical tragedies to enjoy the piece, or the entire show. Two additional modern-dance numbers accompany the central piece, though the billing changes day-to-day.

Josephine Spreckels Theatre is the perfect venue for Tymisha Harris’s one-woman cabaret show about Josephine Baker’s life. The enchanting songstress deserves nothing less than an intimate, elegant setting.

SD Fringe Festival: Josephine

  • Reader's Spreckels Theatre, 923 First Avenue, downtown
  • $10

Set at Baker’s backstage boudoir, a dressing screen and coat rack freckled with lacy, glittering costumes frame the stage. A vintage microphone sits center.

The show chronicles Baker’s storied life — from rambunctious country girl to star of Paris to WWII spy. She fought for civil rights and even met Hermann Goering (voiced on a loudspeaker). At the heart of the story is a complex, unapologetic woman who exhibits her sexuality on her own terms. References to Saartjie Baartman, the “Hottentot Venus” once paraded for white audiences to fetishize, remind us exactly how poignant and political Baker’s ownership and celebration of her natural beauty was and still is.

Harris tantalizes the audience with song, dance, and feathers. Tunes like “Blue Skies” and “La Vie en Rose” intermix with onstage costume changes, a bit of casual dialogue, and — of course — the sultry dance moves of the burlesque icon. Sit in the front row, and she may ask you to dance or help her undress. Also — sit in the front row so you can hear the onstage banter. It's hard to pick up a few rows away.

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